Cardinal 'on tightrope over Divorce Bill'

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The Independent Online
Cardinal Basil Hume, leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England, is to support opponents of the Lord Chancellor's controversial Divorce Bill by suggesting that a year is too short a time to wait before dissolving a marriage and that counselling is an essential element that should be included.

His intervention - in an article in the Catholic weekly the Tablet - comes midway through debate in the House of Lords, and will be a blow to the Lord Chancellor, Lord Mackay of Clashfern, who believed that the Catholic bishops were on his side. The Bill would end "quickie" divorces; end the concept of fault; and introduce mediation where possible to replace lawyers.

The article is said to be an attempt to accommodate critics without threatening the essence of the Bill. A Catholic source described it as "walking a tightrope".